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Farmers’ protests | Opposition leaders condemn violence during farmers’ Republic Day tractor rally

Police using tear gas to disperse farmers attempting to break barricades as they try to march from Tikri Border towards Peeragarhi during the farmers tractors rally (Kisan Gantantra Parade) amid the 72nd Republic Day celebrations, at Nangloi in New Delhi on Tuesday, 26, 2021.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Opposition leaders condemned the violent turn the farmers’ movement took on Tuesday but blamed the Union government for ‘ignoring’ the peaceful protest that went on for 65 days with farmers camping at the Delhi borders.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted that she was deeply disturbed by the “worrying and painful developments” in Delhi. “Centre’s insensitive attitude and indifference towards our farmer brothers & sisters has to be blamed for this situation,” she said. She urged the Centre to engage with farmers and to repeal the laws.

In a long tweet thread, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury reiterated the demand for the immediate repeal of the three laws. “The situation has been brought to this pass by the Modi government. Farmers have been protesting peacefully in the cold for more than 60 days, not allowed to come into Delhi and more than 100 kisans are dead,” he stated. All through the protest, the government ran a smear campaign against the agitators. They were vilified and BJP ministers made wild allegations against them. “The protests are for a legitimate demand of millions of our farmers from various States across the country. That remains the issue at hand, and must be resolved. The solution is clear - repeal these farm laws,” he added.

Pawar’s appeal to farmers

NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar told reporters that while nobody could support what happened on Tuesday, the reason for the events could not be ignored either. “Those sitting calmly grew angry, the Centre didn’t fulfil its responsibility. The government should act maturely and take the right decision. The way the agitation was handled today is regrettable.” He appealed to the farmers to return to their villages to keep the dignity of the protest.

Also read: Protesting farmers enter Red Fort, man climbs flagstaff to hoist flag

CPI general secretary D. Raja said the violence was avoidable and had been condemned by farmers’ groups. At the same time, the government should be reasonable and realistic. “The Modi government should be held answerable to what happened today. The farmers were agitating for two months; why did the government not take them seriously then. This is not a movement of one State, farmers across the nation are affected by these laws,” he observed.

Rashtriya Janata Dal spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Manoj K Jha hinted at a possible sabotage. “There should be a proper investigation into the incident. I do not buy the fact that those who braved Delhi’s harsh winters for 65 days would resort to such hooliganism,” he said. He appealed to the media not to demonise the movement, which has been, barring Tuesday’s event, been spotless. “Today’s incidents clearly show that there is no minister who could understand the nuances of the farmers agitation,” he added.

CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya condemned the ‘police repression’ against farmers during the tractor rally. “The Modi regime must not be allowed to spin a narrative blaming and demonise farmers. We must all refuse to allow the issue to be diverted away from the demand to repeal the three farm laws. We appeal to the farmers to resume their agitation without getting provoked and diverted, and pledge our unflinching support and cooperation for their just movement,” he said in a written statement.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 12:24:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/farmers-protests-opposition-leaders-condemn-violence-during-farmers-republic-day-tractor-rally/article33668521.ece

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